There is some evidence the gap in quality is narrowing between teams in the Wensleydale League with many teams able to beat any opposition on their day.
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This was highlighted on Saturday when the margin of victory was four of the five games were either a draw or settled by no more than a couple of goals.
Richmond Mavericks made it four wins out of four but were pushed hard by Leyburn who were thwarted on several occasions by young Mavs keeper Harry Jacques who made some good saves on his debut.
On 40 minutes, Mavs’ O’Connor played the ball across to Pritchard who took a speculative shot from outside of box which the keeper fumbled into the goal.
The keeper had a second nightmare on 60 minutes when he kicked the ball straight to O’Connor who finished calmly.
James Kelly had a simple tap in on the line after a ball fro Pritchard to make it 3-0 but James Stanger pulled one back before the final whistle for Leyburn.
Buck made the long trip up to Hawes with 16 players, more then they had ever taken that far north, but were still outnumber by the impressive Hawes faithful fans who braved the blustery conditions.
Hawes United had Ervin from Transylvania making his debut in this tight match and he sparkled down the left for the first 20 minutes until the sole and studs of his right boot detached themselves, and he wasn’t as good playing in a slipper.
Still, he was involved in the move which resulted in a Brett Calvert header crashing against the bar in the opening exchanges.
The wind hampered play in the first half and mistakes were a feature – Connor Metcalf slicing an effort wide with the goal unguarded for the Buck and Hawes’ number five suffering the most awful luck when the ball bounced up off a divet and nutmegged him when he was clean through.
Switching Calvert to the right wing in the second half brought Hawes several golden chances. The best came after a neat passing exchange, when Calvert fired a low cross into the box.
Matt Guy on the six yard line had a tap in, but he sent the ball way over the cross bar.
Buck weathered the storm of Hawes kicking downhill with the wind and took the lead when Danny Allen struck the ball from the edge of the area which deflected off teammate Ken William’s face, and into the top corner of the goal off the underside of the crossbar.
Both sides created glorious chances in the second half and for the Buck Josh Wooff blazed over from six yards, before firing straight at the keeper from the 12 yard penalty spot.
Buck couldn’t find the elusive goal to make things comfortable but held on for the three points.
Unicnorn stayed top with a 3-1 win over Reeth.
An unstoppable volley on 25 minutes put Unicorn a goal up and they added a second in the 33rd minute, with a deflected free kick.
The second half was only four minutes old when they struck again, glancing in a header from a left wing cross.
Substitute Mikey Ellis pulled one back for visitors Reeth on 67 minutes, but the home side took the win.
The fixture at Ferrands Park between Spennithorne and Richmond Town Academy was a showpiece of some of the best young talent in the area with both sides fielding youthful teams.
Academy raced into a third minute lead when Dan Deeney ran forward and squared for Brandon Gredziak who scored with an audacious chip over the keeper which went in of the post.
Both sides were playing attacking flowing football and Tom Spensley in the town goal made two good saves with the wind causing problems.
At the other end, Spenni debutante Nathan Walker was also having a good game.
Having withstood some pressure Academy went 2-0 up on 15 minutes.
Gredziak took a quick low corner to the edge of the box and Matty Turnbull his a tremendous effort that gave the keeper no chance.
Spenni had a chance from a corner but Jay Smith was on hand to clear off the line.
The second half started slowly and after 20 minutes it seemed like Academy would manage the game out for the 3 points. Spennithorne had other ideas and scored 2 quick goals in as many minutes to draw level.
Adam Lambert grabbed Spenni’s first goal on 72 minutes with Luke Wilkinson assisting.
And two minutes later,Chris ‘Tino’ Metcalfe was able to slot away the equaliser from a Hickin free kick whipped in against the wind.
Deeney could have nicked the points for Academy in the dying minutes but couldn’t quite reach the ball from close range.
Colburn enjoyed a comfortable 10-4 away win over bottom of the table Carperby.
However, they still rued some missed opportunities and defensive errors.
On four minutes, the sequence of missed chances was broken momentarily, when Luke McCormack played the ball over to Tom Sweeney, who calmly made it 1-0.
Then normal service was resumed – Wallace hit the post, Luke McCormack had an effort blocked, then Stuart Murray was foiled by the keeper.
Another hiccup then came after 14 mins, when Joe Woodall crossed for Wallace to claim the second.
Timmy Taylor was next to claim a miss, when his header from a corner was cleared off the line.
But a defensive howler from Carperby’s keeper presented Colburn with their third goal after 27 mins, when Wallace’s pass found Brandon Bishop, whose shot from distance somehow squirmed under the keeper.
Four minutes later it was 4-0, when Luke McCormack was again the provider and Sweeney the finisher.
Then came a moment of near-farce, when a Carperby player, from inside his own half, had the temerity to attempt to lob the ball over Colburn’s stand-in keeper, Craig Nisbet, but mercifully the ball ran wide.
The first half finished with another couple of ineffective goal attempts from Colburn, firstly when Teasdale was played in, but fired wide, then when Taylor shot straight at the keeper.
So 4-0 at half time and it should have been at least double that.
When Colburn resumed, they must have seen a straightforward route to victory ahead of them.
The pattern continued, as Bishop headed wide from a Teasdale corner, and Luke McCormack’s effort was (again) blocked by the keeper, but on 53 minutes, another Teasdale corner was pushed away by the keeper, and Sweeney gleefully shot home to claim his hat-trick.
Almost immediately Nisbet was called upon to make his first save of the day.
Next it was another Teasdale cross causing havoc in the Carperby defence. As it came across, Luke McCormack dummied it and, as it ran on, Wallace rifled it home to make it 6-0.
Wallace was dismayed to be subbed at this point, as he was also on a hat-trick, but Manager Hammy Hamilton claimed to be unaware of this.
Gary Hutchinson replaced Wallace. Within ten minutes Carperby had pulled two goals back, taking full advantage of sloppy defending from Colburn’s back line.
On both occasions tackles were missed and chances to clear were not taken.
Josh Huitson and Luke Morland were the grateful beneficiaries.
Fortunately, Luke McCormack then embarked on a one-man mission to restore some semblance of normality.
Firstly, after 65 minutes, he robbed a defender and shot home. Then a Woodall cross was headed wide by Luke Hamilton, before Luke McCormack showed how to do it, heading home another Woodall cross.
But then it was time for some further defensive generosity from Colburn, first of all presenting an opportunity to John Pickard who slammed the ball home, then Taylor completely missed his challenge allowing Luke Morland to claim his second, and Carperby’s fourth. 8-4.
Was an unlikely comeback on? Not if Luke McCormack had anything to do with it.
Teasdale, with yet another assist, played it to him, and McCormack had his hat-trick.
There was just time for Murray to join in the fun, firstly making a good run, but shooting straight at the keeper, and then dispossessing a static Carperby defender to make it 10-4.
And that was how it finished. Probably a good game for the neutral, but Hammy Hamilton was to be seen tearing his hair out, and gnashing his teeth in frustration at various points during the proceedings.
Carperby Rovers 4-10 Colburn Town
Hawes United 0-1 Richmond Buck Inn
Richmond Mavericks 3-1 Leyburn Town
Spennithorne and Harmby 2-2 Richmond Town Academy
Unicorn 3-1 Reeth and District
Fixtures – 6/10/19
Reeth v Unicorm
Spennithorne – Catterick Garrison